Summary：Constructed in the Northern Wei dynasty, and located on the middle section of the cliff, this is the earliest central-pillared cave at Mogao. It has a gabled ceiling in the front and a flat ceiling in the back. Under the two ends of the beam of the gabled ceiling and the molded rafters on both slopes are wooden brackets, a structure of Traditional Chinese architecture. Between the rafters are images of celestial beings holding lotuses.The flat ceiling in the back is connected to the ground by the central pillar, which has niches in all four sides for various statues. The large niche in the east side contains a cross-legged Maitreya Bodhisattva, which was originally flanked by four attendants, and now there is only one on the south side and two on the north side. On both sides of the nimbus on the west wall in the niche are attendant bodhisattvas respectively above Vasistha and Mrgasirsa. On the ceiling of the niche are apsaras. The lintel is decorated with reborn children on lotuses. The niche beam shaped like a dragon is supported by two pillars wrapped in painted silk. Most molded figurines on the two sides or above the niche have been damaged, only a few are preserved. The other three sides each have two niches, one above the other. The upper niches shaped like the Chinese traditional gateway on the south and north sides each contain a cross-legged Maitreya bodhisattva, while the lower arch niches contain a dhyana Buddha. The upper niche shaped in the form of two spreading trees and the lower arch niche in the west side each contain a dhyana Buddha flanked by two attendant bodhisattvas out of the niche. There are molded figurines on the two sides and above the upper niche, which are blackened by sootiness. On the four sides of the central pillar below the niches are images of yakshas.A niche with the Chinese styled gateway is dug out of the side walls under the gabled ceiling and contains a cross-legged Maitreya bodhisattva. And four arch niches are made in each of the side walls in the back, respectively contains a preaching Buddha or a dhyana Buddha. Among them the heads of the Buddha statues in the south wall are all partly damaged, while two in the north wall are well preserved.The top section of the four walls are used for heavenly musicians, and below them are thousand Buddha motifs, in which each Buddha has an inscription beside indicating his title. There are totally 1235 Buddhas. The west sides of both side walls each contain a preaching scene, and in the center of the west wall is a preaching scene of a white-robed Buddha.The middle registers of the south and north walls under the niche in the front are covered with Jataka tales and Buddha's life stories. On the south wall is an illustration of Mara's Attack, and to its west are scenes of the Sattva Jataka. On the north side is the karma story of Nanda, and to its west is the Sibi Jataka.There is a successive decorative border consisting of algebra motifs such as checkboards and lozenges and plants like transformed lotuses and twisted honeysuckles on the four walls which separate the upper thousand Buddha motifs, preaching scenes and story paintings from the lower images of the yakshas.There is a window above the entrance. On both sides of the entrance and the window are thousand Buddha motifs. A part of a Sui Dynasty preaching scene is preserved on the north wall of the corridor....
Mogao Grottoes Cave 257
DYNASTY:：Northern Wei Dynasty(A.D.368-534)
Summary：This cave was constructed in the period when the Hexi region was united by the Northern Wei. Originally it was a cave with a central pillar, a gabled ceiling in the front and a flat ceiling in the back. Due to the collapse of the east wall, only a tiny part of the gable ceiling is preserved today. The cave is square in plan with a Han Chinese styled gabled ceiling in the front. On the west slope are celestial beings holding lotuses. The beam is decorated with painted laternendecke motifs. On the flat ceiling are also painted laternendecke motifs, though only two motifs in the southeast corner have survived. One of them depicts a few naked children swimming in a lotus pond. In the outer corner are four asparas. It was surrounded by a decorative border of honeysuckles.The central pillar in the back connects the ground with the ceiling. It has a niche on each of its four sides. The arch niche in the east side contains a statue of Maitreya sitting with legs pendent (whose eyes, nose and hands have been damaged) and wearing a kasaya with the right shoulder exposed. The folds were made by sticking on strips of mud and inscribing natural and smooth lines. The exterior of the niche is divided into an upper level and a lower level, which are respectively covered with ten attendant bodhisattvas. On the top of the niche are four apsaras and Buddha's halos. The niche lintel is decorated with reborn children on lotuses and a dragon head on each end. There was a heavenly king alongside each side of the niche. Now there is only one left. This is the only painted statue of lokapala of the Northern Dynasties at Mogao. Above the niche are molded statues stuck to the surface, and below, along the edge of the niche are donors of the Northern Wei (obscured). At the bottom of the base are donors of the Song dynasty (obscured). There other three sides each have a upper niche and a lower niche. The two upper niches on the south and north sides are shaped like the Han Chinese city gates with a bodhisattva statue inside, while the other niches contain a dhyana Buddha statue flanked by two bodhisattva statues out of the niches.On the north and south walls below the gabled ceiling are large-sized preaching scenes, most of which are damaged. In the center of the back part of the sidewalls is a small preaching scene. The extant murals on the west, south and north walls in the back of the chamber are divided into three registers from top down respectively for the heavenly musicians, thousand Buddha motifs, and yakshas. Between the images of the yakshas and the thousand Buddha motifs is a horizontal band of narrative stories which runs through the three walls. On the south wall is the narrative about a Samanera (novice monk) committing suicide in order to obey Buddhist precepts and about the karma stories of an inferior dog. On the west wall is the nine-colored deer jataka, and on the north part of the west wall and the north wall are paintings about the karma of Lady Sumati. These story murals painted on a redish brown ground, focus on the figures and animals, while the landscape, houses, horses and chariots are just used to suggest the background of the story. This is exactly the extension of the traditional Han and Jin painting styles in Buddhist murals.The narrative story paintings in this cave are rendered in a comptetely new style and composition compared to the earlier works form the inception of the Mogao Grottoes. They are the masterpieces of the narrative story paintings at Mogao, which exerted far-reaching influence on the development of the Buddhist art at Mogao....
Copyright ownership belongs to the Dunhuang Academy. Without the written authorization of the Dunhuang Academy, any organization, enterprise, web sites and individuals shall not copy, reprint, mirror or use any contents of this site in any way. The authorized data shall be used within the scope of the authorization and indicate the source, and shall not be provided to any third party, or we will retain the right to pursue legal responsibilities. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
Cookie Privacy Notice
Your privacy is very important to us. This Privacy Notice explains what personal data the Digital Dunhuang Repository (shortened as Digital Dunhuang below) collects from you, through our interactions with you and through our services, and how we use that data.
This statement applies to all the services provided by Digital Dunhuang. With the expansion of Digital Dunhuang's services, this statement will be kept updated by the Digital Dunhuang without additional notices. The updated privacy will be an effective replacement of the original one once it is publicized in our website.
Digital Dunhuang provides personalized services by using Cookie to help with personalized online experience, collect and store useful information, including language settings and search and browse preferences. Cookie will not keep track of personal information such as account number and password.
The Cookie of Digital Dunhuang can only be read by our website, and you can modify your browser settings to accept or refuse the Cookie according to your requirements though we suggest you to accept it. If your browser is set to refuse the Cookie, Digital Dunhuang will not be able to provide you with personalized services though the website is still accessible.
Dunhuang Grottoes is not only a brilliant art treasure of ancient Chinese civilization, but also an important witness to the dialogue and communication between different civilizations that had taken place on the ancient Silk Road. Guided by cultural relics protection philosophy, this Digital Dunhuang Project is pursuing overall digitization, including collection, processing and storage of the Dunhuang Grottoes and related cultural relics by using advanced science and technology. It integrates all kinds of data including the photos,videos,3D data and other literature data into a digital repository of cave cultural relics which is diversified and intellectual, and can be co-shared globally through Internet. A support system will also be constructed for digital asset management system and digital resource science.
The "Digital Dunhuang" project is of demonstration significance in this century, and it has a long way to go. On the basis of extant achievements, we will continue to innovate and cooperate with others to make unremitting efforts for the permanent preservation and sustainable use of Dunhuang's cultural heritage.